Submitted by George Callaghan…
BLM is onto something. Black Lives do matter. When it comes to oppose murder I am with BLM. But when it comes to removing statues I oppose BLM. I have even been on a BLM march. I want to end police brutality. This is about statutes not statues. At best the statue issue is a diversion from the gravamen of the BLM case. The statues don’t shoot!
The righteous ebullitions against unwarranted police killings are persuasive. The charlatanism of those who reflexively defend the police is plain. American police in panoply of war on the streets speaks of tyranny. The funniest bit is to see the police tank with the superscription ‘have a nice day.’
How can the United States upbraid the UK when the US Government seems eager to wage war on its own people? Trump has hardly handled the situation with adroitness. He does not repudiate police brutality unequivocally. To do so might imperil his support among white supremacists. He cannot bring himself to denounce racism as an unmitigated evil.
BLM’s name is epigrammatic and notable for its appositeness. What fair minded person can disagree with black lives mattering? I am with them on the main point. But I part company when it comes to obliterating public art.
Why remove statues?
BLM and the broader liberal left believes that the statues of those who expressed views they do not share ought to be taken away from public squares. This includes monarch, governors-general, generals, prime ministers and others.
History must be open to reassessment. Revisionism is sometimes right. No discipline should ossify. Petrifaction is for ideologues. But turning heroes into anti-heroes is too much for some to stomach.
To be sure some of the people whose statues BLM wants to take away did some ghastly things. Take Edward Colston in Bristol, United Kingdom. Colston was a major slave trader. Based on the fortune amassed through inflicting such misery he became a philanthropist. His charitable donations were renowned in his home town. Though Colston did some good there is no doubt that he did immensely more harm than good. Conceive if you can the thousands of abductions that he expedited. Those who resisted kidnap were slain. Imagine the captives dragged in chains to an unknown fate. Imagine the thousands of people crammed into a ships’ dark and fetid hold to wallow in their own excresences. Here many sickened and perished only to be unceremoniously thrown to the sharks. Imagine the countless cruel lashings till blood ran freely from innocent flesh. Imagine the families broke up at the auction block. Imagine the heart rending cries of parents parted forever from their weeping children. There is no question about the infernal evil of slavery.
There is genuine anguish about the unutterable sufferings of those who were held in slavery. It seems wrong to be unaccommodating to those who want more recognition of the insupportable injustices suffered by their ancestors and ancestresses. Their cup of sorrows overflowed. Eulogistic books on Mary Seacole go only so far. People fulminate that they need compensation and an apology from the Queen for slavery. Apologies for crimes of two centuries ago are unwonted.
We cannot free people who died 200 years ago. But we can prevent further acts of brutality. Why not concentrate on achievable goals?
A tumultuous mob tore down Colston’s likeness. The stone was unceremoniously dumped in the Avon. It was dangerous – pulling it down could have killed someone. Someone who pulls down a statue is more than a misdemeanant. They ought to be punished with stringency.
A BLM badge is now a mandatory appurtenance for any self-respecting left winger and a few rightists too.
We risk falling into the morass of a cultural revolution. In China in the 1960s the millennia old heritage was systematically destroyed. We can but commiserate with the Chinese now. Ironically Chinese art survived better in the nearby British colony.
Multitudinous protesters continue to foregather at the statues of past notables. Counter demonstrators are there to protect statues because as Colston showed they believe the police will be guilty of a dereliction of duty. Visitants from overseas must be astonished that the British are engaged in iconoclasm of the statues of their past icons. The benignity of someone is not guaranteed because he had a statue erected in his honour.
It is for city council to decide on statues. That is why we have them. You might not like the city council’s decision. Tough. You have to abide by it.
BLM is calling for many public statues in London to be removed. London is unostentatious by comparisons to some former imperial capitals but it does have statues aplenty.
The issue has been a hyper polarising one. It has brought people into open conflict.
People want Winston Churchill removed from Parliament Square. Sir Winston held racialist view and expressed them forthrightly. Though philosemitic like his father he averred that black people ought not have the same liberties as those of fairer skin. His opinions are now rightly regarded as rebarbative.
I used to quip that Nelson’s Column would be renamed Nelson Mandela’s Column. It looks like it is no longer a punchline. Admiral Lord Nelson deprecated William Wilberforce and was a staunch advocate of keeping black people in servitude.
There is a suggestion that anything named in honour of anyone connected to imperialism must be changed. This is ludicrous. Take the Cordington Library. The benefactor was not just an imperialist. He was a slaveholder and therefore detestable. However, almost no one knows who Codrington is. Virtually nobody was upset about the name Codrington until the PC brigade started shouting about it.
The anti-statue people want to invent a problem where none exists. It is like the Streisand Effect. Some of them are mortally offended by the statute of Cecil John Rhodes on the front of Oriel College, Oxford. But if they hate it why gather there so much? Four years of protests have not brought it down. I do not like this moustachioed, misogynistic, monied, miserly, megalomaniacal mogul. But his statue ought to remain in situ.
I have read furphy by PC warriors saying there is a ‘violence’ to walking past certain statues. Such misuse of language speaks of bottomless stupidly and deep deceit. May I suggest they find an alternative route? Or just do not go to that place? If it really is even metaphorically violent you would avoid it.
BLM is now engaged in a concerted effort to discredit imperialism and link it inextricably to racialism. Imperialism is a vast topic which spans the entire globe and the whole of human history. It is unwise to go from the particular to the general. Therefore, it is very difficult to succinctly assess whether imperialism is mostly racialist and mostly bad. Which imperialism, where and when? That there were horrid chapters in the very lengthy and variegated history of imperialism few would doubt. The Congo Free State was very exploitative. The German presence in Namibia was terrible.
Far be it from me to say that the Britannic Empire was without sin. In terms of the Transatlantic Slave Trade the UK was a force of enormous and infernal evil. The moral balance in 1798 was in favour of France which had set slaves at liberty. In her dealings with other countries Britain was at times unrighteous. She has sometimes aggressed other countries. War has sometimes been proclaimed for light or transient reasons. War has occasionally been levied by unconscionable means. The depravity of the United Kingdom was not uncommon among nations in that epoch.
The very definition of imperialism is fraught with contention. What some call imperialism others do not. Imperialism is a boo word for many. Therefore, they call anything which they find distasteful by this name. They used it like fascism – very inaccurately.
There is an all-out assault on the reputation of the British Empire. Its name is assailed more ferociously than ever before. Every iniquity committed by the empire is dredged up.
I do not stint from recounting the ugly chapters of British imperialism. I have written about the Jallianwala Bagh Atrocity. This is gone over ad nauseaum. 347 of the British Raj are judged by its worst 10 minutes when Indians killed Indians. General Dyer who ordered the slaughter ought to have been put to death for mass murder. An apology and assythment ought to be have been forthcoming immediately. Some of the killers were still alive in 1947. Neither India nor Pakistan took any action against the culpable.
I shall not resile from limning the crimes and injustices of the British Empire. However, excessive focus on this to the virtual exclusion of its beneficence is a wilful distortion.
This is about imperialism more generally. History is 5 000 years old. Imperialism is at least as old as that. Presumably it existed for the 3 500 000 years that homo sapiens have. What is it only the 450 years of Western imperialism that are execrated? Why not the Mongols, the Ottomans, the Chinese, the Indians, the Arabs, the Incas, the Aztecs, the Russians, the Persians or any of the other numerous non-Western imperialisms? The conclusion that this is an anti-Western and albophobic movement is hard to avoid.
Occidental imperialism has much in its debit column. But it also has a lot in its credit column. The same argument is hard to advance for certain non-Western imperialism such as the Mongols and Ottomans. They did not bring better medicine, human rights or legislatures. They are remembered fondly by none of their former subject peoples.
Almost every country has been a colony and a coloniser. England was colonised by Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Danes and Normans.
The word ‘racist’ is part of the breathing rhythm of some. Accusing others of racialism is to be done as much as possible on the basis of the slenderest evidence. ‘The more I allege others are racist the more morally upstanding I am’ seems to be the thought process. Such pharisaical leftists are depressingly numerous and growing.
There is negative racial stereotyping to correct. Mandela said he fought the stereotype that Africans are unpunctual. Racists say that Africans are guilty of torpor. Such calumnies are to be called out. A Zimbabwean told me that in his country people say ‘whites are out to get you.’ Of course sometimes this is true but anti-white stereotyping should also be opposed.
These are very emotive topics. It is hard to consider them with equanimity. But I strive to do so. The indecorum of the protests has undermined the BLM cause. If they came to councils as suppliants they might well get their way. There demand that all statues be removed is being made in a self-defeating manner. The remonstrances about statues have been hyperpolarising. BLM should unite people against brutality. But they have bifurcated society. The crime with precipitated BLM is overlooked.
BLM should listen to admonition from those like me who wish them well on the main thing. Policing is remediable. History is not. Embroilment in the statue issue sidetracks the movement. The decline in support for BLM might be vertiginous.
There are some lonely though courageous voices on the liberal left against the precipitate removal of statues.
Why statues should stay.
Anti-imperialists used to call it cultural genocide. That is renaming things and removing memorials and symbols of identity. The expression ‘cultural genocide’ is surely hyperbolic. But whereas leftists resort to histrionics when denouncing questionable deeds by Occidental governments they use no such intemperate language when they describe their own bid to deracinate the Occident. We are to be left with tabula rasa.
Wanting to rid the public space of images of people they dislike is a strange move from the so-called apostles of tolerance. Censorship is a slippery slope.
Though I am a pro-statue person in general I recognise there are some nasty pieces of work on my side of the debate. If a racist happens to agree with me on a statue do not imagine I agree with her on anything else.
A spirt of intolerance has been instilled in the junior generation. This is a worrisome and retrograde trend. They purport to believe that the know with certitude that their views are right. Their opinions are unopposable. This is a very dangerous road to go down. This is incipient soft totalitarianism. They are fired by a frightening zeal in the correctness of their beliefs.
We can only know a good idea if we have a bad one to contrast it against. Let a thousand schools of thought contend!
As Robin Page quipped ‘liberal is the only one word oxymoron in the English language.’ I wish modern liberals would rediscover the broadmindedness and generosity of spirit that characterised classical liberalism. Sadly, much of the liberal left seems incapable of such reflection.
None of us is without sin. Anti-imperialists are uniquely immune from such scrutiny in BLM’s book. But imperialists of bygone centuries are to be judged by the mores of the 21st century.
The notion that images of people from past centuries should be removed from public view because they did not conform to our notion of decency is ahistorical. 18th century people are being execrated for not being 21st century people.
Among the proselytes of the anti-statue movement are most Labour MPs. This is a deathbed conversion. Many of these MPs have been in Parliament for years or even decades. Most of them have said nary a phoneme against these statues or place names. All of a sudden such images and names are wrong. Why this new unacceptance of these likenesses and names? It is an unedifying example of jumping on the bandwagon. Many historically illiterate parliamentarians are proving to be ultracrepidarian with their painfully ignorant remarks about the British Empire. I doubt the ingenuousness of many MPs who want statues to be taken away.
One of the evangelists of the anti-statue movement of David Lammy MP. Mr Lammy has shown himself to be a chump by complaining about reports of white smoke and black smoke from the Vatican. The ignoramus did not realised that the colour of the smoke was indicative of whether the papal conclave had elected a new Roman pontiff. Lammy was eager to find racialism in well night all. Mr Lammy was irate that a white showed kindness to a black child on Children In Need. Does he want whites to be anti-black? He hates it when whites treat black people well.
What would removing statues supposedly accomplish? Would it lead to better race relations? I doubt it. In the United Kingdom many people are mortally offended by the very suggestion. Indigenous Britons in particular seem to take badly to this notion. If anything statue removal is liable to cause disaffection between the races.
If statues in Parliament Square are to be removed why not go by the old rule last in first out? Remove a racist. I speak of course of Gandhi who said that black people should be discriminated against. Remove an apologist for oppression in Africa. I refer to Mandela who was an indefatigable advocate for every foul tyrant in Africa just so long as the said oppressor was not white. It is a rich irony that while N R Mandela rightly demanded liberty for South Africa he demanded unfreedom for the rest of the continent.
In the Republic of Ireland we have tried some of the policies proposed by BLM. The Statue of Queen Victoria was removed from in front of the Oireachtas in 1949. Did that reduce anglophobia? I think not. Did it improve ties with our neighbour? Not a bit of it. Did it prevent the Troubles? Er… no. The same goes for renaming places. Admittedly we were usually simply returning to the historical toponyms of Kingstown and Queenstown, Kingsbridge, Queen’s County, King’s County, Charleville, Navan, Parsonstown and other locations. I do not question the legal right of our government to change the names or to remove the statues. I mildly prefer that we had not done so. I am an avowed unionist. There are likenesses of republican rebels all over Ireland. Yet I do not call for those to be taken away. I have always found perusing the statues of these insurrectionists to be deeply engrossing.
Should we demolish Nelson’s Column? Nelson is not up their for his beliefs about race or slavery. Only history buffs know his views on these subjects. The mind boggles that some are so mean minded to want this column to be levelled.
Where does this end? Queen Victoria came to the Throne in 1837. At that time slavery had not yet been phased out in the British Empire. If she was damnably vile then we must rename Victoria Station, the State of Victoria and myriad other things that bear the name of the Queen Empress.
I have a prejudice against removing statues. That is not to say that one should not be shifted. There are exceptions when they ought to be removed. This argument that demonstrated Godwin’s Law yet again. ‘Would you not have removed Hitler’s statue in 1945?’ This anti-imperialist’s statues were erected by the Chancellor himself. A decent person does not do this and statues of that person are only put up after the decease of the subject of the statue. This President of Germany did very little good in the 1930s and an incalculable amount of evil. He was an ardent enemy of British imperialists. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Adolf Hitler did much to aid the Indian independence movement. Subhas Chandra Bose was an outspoken admirer of Hitler as were many in the RSS. Hitler also helped the IRA who were enamoured of him. But would I have removed Hitler’s statue? Yes, I would. They conquerors removed statues of him. But should they remain away from public view? I leave that up to the German people. It would send a very worrying signal if they were restored to public fora. The will of the German populace is clear. They want nothing to do with National Socialism.
The idea that Churchill should be removed is asinine. Would black people have been better off under Nazism? Despite Churchill’s unpalatable opinions he did not hate black people. The indomitability of Churchill is impugned as he is now immured for his own protection. If he were removed it would redound to Britain’s perennial obloquy.
Let the statues stand. Let us accept our history – acknowledging its hideous chapters. Then we can build out Happy City of the Phaeaecians.
We ought to secure to futurity our artistic heritage. Splenetic leftists may say that this should be in a museum but not a street. Why? If the person was so foul then displaying the person in a museum is almost as bad. If a museum not a place of honour? You might ask me that if this is so why would I object to putting the statue in a museum? I object partly because it is the beginning of the end. Next they will say take that person away from display and put him in storage.
Even storage would not be enough for some of the hardliners of the PC brigade. A bronze statue must be reduced to a liquescent state. A stone one must be sundered into myriad fragments.
For over 20 years I have argue for not removing statues and memorials from public space in any land even for those whom I detest. This includes Stalin and the Lenin Mausoleum. The destruction of Saddam Hussein’s statue by the US Military did not end Iraq’s travails. Grim visaged war still ravages the land. If you think tearing down statues solves anything ask the Iraqis.
Images for all
People ask why only 1% of statues and plaques in the United Kingdom are to black and minority ethnicity people (BAME). That is because until the 1950s under 1% of people in the UK were BAME? It took a while for BAME people to rise to eminence.
I am all in favour or more statues for BAME people. Let us honour Sir Mancherjee Bhownagree the first Indian Conservative MP and a zealous advocate of the British Empire.
I have long wished to fulfil the suggestion of the late Bernie Grant MP. Grant was the first black man elected to the UK Parliament. Mr Grant suggested that the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square have a statue of the Unknown Slave. I heartily agree. This ought to be of a woman since all the other images are of males on that square.
We honour the soldiers from South Asia who fought in the wars out of fidelity to the British Empire. More memorials to our Commonwealth cousins who nobly laid down their lives for imperialism would be welcome.
Henceforth and forever we are to be taught only political correctitudes. There is much hoo ha about the need to decolonise education.
9/10 academics is left wing. But this is not enough for the relentless crusading spirit of the ultra left. They seem to wish to turn universities into Maoist madrassas.
There are many self-proclaimed Marxist dons. There are leftists of all hues. Where are the soi disant rightists? What happened to fairness and balance.
Perhaps right wingers self-deselect. They know a scholarly career is effectually barred to them. Therefore, they follow other pursuits. But it is revealing that they feel unable to progress in academia.
The vicelike grip of an intolerant ideology in education should shake us to the core. The anti-colonialist mindset that monopolises tertriary education has gained control of on secondary and primary education. They are warping the minds of our children.
Much of education is controlled by the race relations industry. Like any industry is seeks as much profit for as long as possible. We cannot congratulate on having largely solved the problem. The race industry fat cats have to keep inventing problems or hugely overstating those that exist. Racism gives the high priests of race relations status and filthy lucre.
I cannot think of a single imperialist academic in any country in the last 20 years. There might be some but precious few. The notion that there are lots of colonialist academics is a chimera.
Most academics are vociferous anti-colonialists. The idea that current British education is colonial is unsubstantial.
Some have demanded the decolonisation of education. I said does that require us to end literacy. How did literacy come to Britannia? It was through colonisation. Anti-imperialists were furious at this statement of the plain truth. How did literacy come to sub-Saharan Africa? It was due to imperialism. The truth is unbearable for the apostles of anti-imperialism. They find it heretical. The race relations industry is almost like a cult.
The explicit purpose of many courses is not to educate but to indoctrinate. We should all feel troubled by this.
One of the horrid notions that the race industry and its academic confederates disseminates is cultural appropriation. A person of one ethnicity cannot borrow a meme from another. How do we demarcate ethnicities and cultures? It is imponderable. By this rationale an African-American must not play basketball since it was invented by a white Canadian. It is bizarre that for all their preachments about egalitarianism and friendliness the race industry wants to segregate us and deny us equality.
People are labelled privileged due to their race. This is intended to deprive them of rights. This is unjust. It also puts people’s backs up. It puts off people who are otherwise sympathetic to broadly BLM goals.
Non-Irish people sometimes engage in Paddy whackery. Such stage Irishry can be droll. In excess I find it a trifle tedious. But I am not mortally offended by it.
Black Studies is a respectable discipline. The history, culture, music, language and literature of all groups of people should be taught. Unfortunately, on some Black Studies courses the goal is to inculcate people into the far left and anti imperialist movement.
Take British Values. Children are to be forcefed these. None of these are exclusively British and few are originally British. By no means all Britishers agree with all so-called ‘British Values.’ Many of them are laudable. But I question the wisdom and ethics of preaching to people like this.
Do we not have the right to disagree with democracy? We are told not to tolerate intolerance. Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?
Whatever happened to academic freedom? What has become of a liberal education? Is brainwashing to be the order of the day?
Rose Luxemburg said freedom is always for those who think differently. We may be entering a Stygian night for dissent.
As Thomas Hobbes said we can never be sure we are right. That is why we need to be kept in check. Our opinions must be kept under review. Be minful of fallibility. I could be wrong. Sometimes I change my mind. The impermeability of the far left mind is troubling.
Those who do not conform might need to be re-educated. It is ominous. I am filled with foreboding when people are sent on diversity courses. A diversity course is exactly the opposite of what it says. It is absolutely against diversity of opinion. It is about mental straitjacketing.
The Big Lie is the new leftist technique. It is like the fallacy that a man is a woman if he says so. Anyone who tells the plain truth is evil. This is the war on truth! That liberal leftists can deny easily verifiable facts speaks volumes. Objective reality is under assault. Something which can be disproven by scientific criteria is to be blandly denied by leftist scholars.
The mind virus of the far left has metastisised. The malignancy of this attitude is plain for all to see. Academics are worried to say anything that undergraduates will object to because it challenges ultra-left pieties. Yet the ultra-left discourses in unmeasured language about the supposed wickedry of imperialism and the much-vaunted morality of anti-imperialism.
This is part of a general attack on freedom in university. No more potations or ribaldry are allowed. University used to be a time for epicureanism and intellectual experimentation. No more.
The corrosion of freedom in universities is part of a broader problem. The fragility of far left mindsets is such that they brook no countervailing view. The new generation is raised to be a milquetoast one.
The left wing gutter press would have us believe that universities are hotbeds of racism. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is a lot of racism in universities but not of the kind the Guardian imagines.
Take Dr Nathaniel Coleman. He is an academician with a stellar record. He has a double first in Literae Humaniores from Oxford. Coleman studied Philosophy through French at the Sorbonne. He has an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan. Dr Coleman has a number of well received academic publications to his name. He has had positions at a number of British universities. Dr Coleman is a black Briton. He is employed by the ‘evil white establishment’ to denounced the evil white establishment. Has he no sense of irony.
Dr Coleman is amiable and a man of integrity. Yet he speaks in sub Marxist goobledygook about people ‘racialised as white.’ Academic prose is notable for its turgidity and opacity. Its comprehensibility is in inverse proportion to its esteem in academe. Dr Coleman has made a career out of saying he is a victim of racism. He won a scholarship to King Edward’s School Birmingham, he went to Merton College Oxford and other places. His achievements are magnificent. He deserved all this. I cannot see how he has been so hard done by. If he does not get what he wants it is all the fault of the white bogeyman. The good doctor is not the first person in the United Kingdom to fail to get the job he wanted.
The good doctor seems to have education as a mere avocation. His principal activity is evangelising for controversial causes whilst being paid by universities. I have to admire his pertinacity. He called for the renaming of the Codrington Library 20 years ago long before it was fashionable. He nailed his colours to the mast in his teens. No Johnny come lately is he!
When I disagreed with Dr Coleman he told me to shut the fuck up. I expected better from an intellectual. This is his field of expertise. Is that the best he can do? Resorting to schoolyard insults does not win converts. Has he nothing more cogent to say? I think I might be mistaken. I doubt that he does. Having dedicated decades to this cause it would be very hard to accept that he is wrong.
It is as though much of academe has been struck with aphasia. It is engaged in a silly semantic game of pretending words do not mean that they actually mean. It takes real brains to be so studiedly stupid. Yet they advance barking mad notions such as a man being a woman if he says he is. They assert these risible falsehoods with seeming certitude.
These tendentious issues should be discussed with serenity. I know that that is easier said than done.
Why are only 2% of professors in the UK black? Only 4% of people in the UK are black. The black community is disproportionately young. Half the black people in Britain are children. To be an academic you need a PhD. Do black people have much more than 2% of the PhDs in the UK. I think not? Are many more than 2% of applicants for academic posts black? I suspect not. The notion that there is some huge racial prejudice against Britons of African stock is specious.
Many start from the unsafe assumption that talents in all areas of achievement are equally distributed amongst all racial groups and both genders. How do we know that? I do not know that assumption to be specious. But the idea of equal ability is an evidenceless proposition. The English Football team regularly has 6 black players on the field out of 11. The black community is 5% of the English populace yet often 55% of its football team. Is the English Football Association an anti-white conspiracy? I suspect not. They do not wish to lose. It so happens that most of the sporting talent resides in one ethnicity. But if a similar disparity were seen between whites being X % of the populace but much more than X% of whatever profession we are told it is racialist. PC logic is faulty here.
But anything, anything must be asserted to say that as much racialism as possible exists. If you do not subscribe to the whole creed then you are utterly wicked. The race relations industry has to keep shifting the goalposts. It would be a disaster for the race relations fat cats to acknowledge that the problem is solved. They would have worked themselves out of a job. They must dream up more and more problems. Then the race industry can keep demanding more funding, more high falutin’ quango titles, more high status jobs and more legislation. Nice work if you can get it!
There is empirical evidence that some people are racially prejudiced. I am open to schemes of quotas. We must guard against unconscious bias. It is almost as though academics imagine themselves to be uniquely immune to the human frailities of social and psychological pressures. In the 18th century every academic was for racism, gender and religious discrimination. Now the reverse is the case – so we are told. What has changed? The human mind is the same. In the 18th century the finest minds were susceptible to groupthink just as they are today.
Whites are supposed to beat their breasts. We are to hear endless incantations of mea culpa. Whites must atone for the iniquities of their forefathers even down to the twentieth generation. In fairness of course there were and are wicked whites who have treated non-whites appallingly.
The odd thing is that the PC brigade are fixated with racial distinctions and boundaries. We are supposed to be able to categorise people. Shouldn’t we all stop caring about ethnicity? Isn’t the goal to get beyond that and treat people as individuals? No. One of the core documents of the PC ideology is the MacPherson Report. It said that the Metropolitan Police was institutionally racist. That was despite not finding any example of racism in the police. It is now illegal to treat people the same. You have to treat them according to race because of the MacPherson Report! That whole idea beforehand was that ethnic minorities wanted to be treated the same as the majority i.e. decently. I am not saying that all police officers were racist but a few were in the old days.
This leads into the nonsense of cultural appropriation. You cannot borrow from another culture. Are we to have apartheid then?
This cultural segregation demanded by the PC brigade is in stark contrast to its attitude to gender or sex. The PC brigade says that a man can become a woman simply by saying he is. The same also applies the other way around. The rest of the world must accept this lie. How come a man can appropriate the female gender and vice versa but a white cannot adopt an aspect of another culture? The whole thing is bonkers. How would the PC brigade like it if a totally white person said he was black and started ‘acting black’? If that is outrageous why is it fine for a male to claim to be female? There is a dissonance here.
In order to get into the public sector you know have to subscribe to certain articles of faith about the public sector and society being viciously racist. If people are constantly bombarded with this message it is unsurprising that they start to believe it. Conditioning tends to work. A lie told often enough has the ring of truth. People chant these PCs mantras until their minds are numb.
We have come to a pretty pass when undergraduates have to espouse a certain ideology to pass. They must also eschew thought crimes. The orthodoxy must be intoned with punctilious correctitude. No backsliding will be tolerated!
The shock troops of the PC movement have taken control of most of the public sector and some of the private sector too. Marxists, Leninists, Trotyskites, Stalinists and their liberal fellow travellers long ago realised that a more insidious and effectual means of achieving their goals was not to seize factories, farms, railways, mines, mills, ports and post offices. It was to take over schools, universities, hospitals, the civil service, radio stations, TV stations and newspapers. Their goals are no longer primarily economic. They latched on to some real problems in society and correctly identified racism as unjust. But they go from this to using it as a stick with which to beat the culture and identity of most people in Western countries.
Most public sector and private sector organisations have witchfinders general. They are there to smell out those who are ideologically unsound.
If an ethnic minority person achieves a less than ideal outcome it must be because of racialism. This is not always wrong. Racialism exists. However, it is hugely exaggerated. A bad result for an ethnic minority person could be that person’s fault just as it usually is for an ethnic majority person.
Curiously, racialism in post-colonial states is almost entirely overlooked. Genocide in Darfur garnered very few column inches. Where were the PC crusaders then? Why does the number of black professors matter more than the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of black people by other black people?
Not all ideas are bad because they are PC. I am not opposed to politeness. I do not wish to see people being verbally abused for their ethnicity.
People with un-PC views are hounded out of universities. Dr Frank Ellis is a scholar of Russian and a man with nauseating views on race. But to deny him a career because if his opinion is grossly unfair.
First they came for the BNP but I was not in the BNP so did not speak up. Then they came for Britain First but I was not in Britain First so I did not speak up. Then they came for the English Defence League. But I was not in the EDL so I said nothing. Then they came for UKIP and the Brexit Party. I was not in those parties so I said nothing. Then they came for the Tories but I was not a Tory so I said nothing. Then they came for the Lib Dems. But I was not a Lib Dem so I said nothing. Then they came for Labour but I was not in the Labour Party so I said nothing. Then they came for me… Do you not see how the ultra left can purge universities through salami tactics. They call people unacceptable. Slice by slice our freedom is cut away. The space for expression of opinion becomes narrower and ever narrower. There is an airlessness to UK universities now. I write in conscious imitation of Bonhoeffer. To be sure I am not saying that concentration camps shall be opened. No one is going to be killed. This is non-violent totalitarianism.
At Oxford University the Conservative Association of 600 students was suspended because one boy told an unpalatable joke. Talk about an overreaction. It was collective punishment. The university is chicken shit. It is worried about screeching headlines in the yellow press. Therefore Oxford University bends the knee to gutter journalism and demagoguery.
We need to put on some mental thew. Stretch the mind. Expose yourself to other viewpoints. Otherwise we are raising people who are uncultivated. Engaging with contrary notions exercises the character and elasticates the spirit. A sprightly youth would welcome reproof and delight in crossing swords with disputants in a courteous manner.
Left wing academics bemoan white fragility. To be sure some whites are fragile: the left wingers especially. But imagine if someone spoke of ‘black fragility’. Would he not be called racialist? I feel no racial solidarity for fellow whites. Let us move beyond race and stop thinking and talking about it so much.
There is a continuum between the anti-statue movement, the gender fluidity movement and other kinds of illogicality. The PC movement is multifarious. However, these different strands are not completely coterminous. One does not have to subscribe to all the items on the agenda.
When it comes to imperialism the PC paradigm is that white mastery was necessarily vile and by extension not white rule was necessarily laudable. In fairness some whites were foul and did tyrannise people. But European imperialism is presented as an infinitude of evil. Anti-colonial regimes were not always deplorable. Some post-colonial states have achieved resounding success such as Singapore.
Right wing scholars will have to meet furtively in conventicles. Perhaps there are some who are at universities and dare not speak up.
An honest reckoning about imperialism.
We are told that the United Kingdom needs a frank reckoning about the empire. I heartily concur. We need to tell it as it is. We ought to face facts. Let us recognise what a vicious, wicked creed anti-imperialism often is. Anti-imperialism has brought untold immiseration to mankind on every continent. There are few evils in the world for which anti-imperialism is not to blame at least in part. From genocide, to manmade famine, to massive scale torture on an industrial scale, to bigotry, to environmental degradation and inane cults of the personality the offences against truth and humanity by anti-imperialism are beyond even Euclid’s tally. Western imperialism hath slain its millions but anti-imperialism hath slain its tens of millions.
Stalin, Mao, Mugabe, Idi Amin, Mengistu Haile Mariam, the Myanmar Junata, Ceausescu, Enver Hoxha, Papa Doc, Turkemenbashy, Kim Il Sung: all the most monstrous tyrants of the last century have been anti-imperialists. Yet these despots do not get a rough ride in the press or in historical chronicles. They were appalling old waxworks. But there is much unctuous babble about them being freedom fighters.
The crimes of the anti-imperialists cry to heaven for vengeance. Their satanic cruelty speaks for itself. It is emetic that some honour them.
We rightly study slavery. The chronicles of history stretch back 5 000 years. It may well have existed for the three and a half million years that our species has existed. Why would it not have done? Slavery has existed throughout that time in almost every land. Abolitionism has existed for 200 years. Why? It is because of Western imperialism. In Persia and India slavery was briefly abolished a long time ago and swiftly reintroduced.
Anti-imperialists take the side slavers against emancipators. In 1935 Italy fought Abyssinia. Did Italy start it? Or did Abyssinia start it by attacking the Italians at Wal Wal. Italian prisoners of war were castrated and bled to death. Anti-imperialists took the side of the mutilators. The Italians then used poison gas. Is that worse than shooting soldiers? Many armies had used gas only 20 years before. London and Paris tried to persuade the warring parties to make peace and arrive at a compromise. Even Marcus Garvey was disgusted with Haile Selassie’s retrograde obscurantist despotism.
Italians troops had committed many atrocities in Libya on Mussolini’s direct orders. But the outside world did not know that at the time. This argument was no advanced as a reason to oppose the attack on Abyssinia. Mussolini was decent to Muslims. Haile Selassie was not. Ethiopia was itself and empire. The Amharas lorded it over the ethnic minorities. The Italian conquest was a step forward despites its brutality. I despise fascism. But it was nothing like as bad in 1935 as it soon became. It was not as bad as Haile Selassie’s rule.
The British Empire provided education, medicine, engineering, architecture and administration to a third of the globe. It did so with remarkably little force. It did so with the agreement of indigenous peoples.
There were baleful aspects to British imperialism. But the positive effects are ineradicable. I do not look on the past with rose tinctured spectacles. I recognise that all people are principally actuated by self-interest and Britishers are no exception. They engaged in imperialism chiefly for gain.
Under beneficent British superintendence the populace of India pullulated pleasingly. The population explosion was occasioned by improvement in arable agriculture, animal husbandry, sanitation and healthcare.
When troublemakers were arrested in the British Raj the miscreant was arrested by Indian Police without a white face present. They answered these alarums to do the best for India. The seditionist was brought before a court. The preliminaries and the trial were conducted by an Indian judge. He was imprisoned by Indian warders. In most cases it was Indians all the way. Indians were not mere coadjutors of the Britons. The Raj only existed because Indians wanted it to. If this was treason why was not a single man tried for it after 1947? Waging war against India is still punishable by death.
Those who strove for independence by unlawful means were punished by incarceration with hard fare. This was an example of lenity compared to what most lands did to seditionists at the time. When Congress first turned against the empire it did so more in sorrow than in anger. They had been schooled to exalt the Westminster model. But even Subhas Chandra Bose said it was inapplicable in the Subcontinent. It could not simply be transplanted to South Asian soil and expected to bear fruit. When it did it transmogrified. This is why India was a dictatorship 1975-77 and has had president’s rule in many states i.e. rule by fiat. I am not saying that the Congress Party was wrong to do this under the circs. Currently India is using a sedition law more severe than under the Raj. The Raj was liberal by comparison.
The dissolution of the British Empire was the geopolitical cataclysm of the 20th century. As the Prime Minister of South Africa said it was ‘the widest system of organised freedom in the world’. This former enemy of the United Kingdom came to see that membership of the empire was a blessing. But the disaster fell not on the UK but on the former colonies.
In the runup to independence some British soldiers in India recalled being approached by indigenous people who were disconsolate about impending independence. They implored the Britishers not to depart.
Even before Indian independence several thousand people were slaughtered in Direct Action Day in Calcutta. Sadly, it was but a foretaste of independence. It might have been obvious that this was not a propitious moment for independence. It did not require precognition to perceive that independence would be accompanied not by mere perturbations but by huge scale bloodshed. But by then it was probably too late to turn back. Independence had taken on a momentum of its own. Hence the doleful events of 1947. These eventualities could have been avoided if wiser decisions had been taken and independence had been delayed by some years. It took little perspicuity to see this.
On 15 August 1947 Nehru delivered a portentous oration. ‘India awakes to life and freedom’. Nehru wrote a resplendent speech but he delivered it in disappointingly unliterary tones. This grandiose boast of life and freedom proved to be tragicomic for the victims of independence.
In 1947 over a million Indians and Pakistanis were slaughtered. Not one of them was killed by a Briton. These corpses were the victims of anti-imperialism. Power crazed politicians in the Congress Party and the Muslim League were warned that independence would lead to calamity. But they were heedless of these tristful prognostications. They charged ahead with independence. The result is a conflict that still suppurates almost 73 years on and shows no sign of abating. There have been three Indo-Pak Wars. Within India there has been a huge amount of inter-religious violence. 2 000 people butchered for their faith in Gujarat in 2002. The Chief Minister of Gujarat at least connived at this as was said by many Indians. What became of that Chief Minister? They made him Prime Minister! Since then caste violence in Bihar has been unrelenting.
Though there was some communal strife under the British Raj it was nothing on this scale. Religious violence in British India was committed by Indians not Britishers. Some Indian nationalists say that the United Kingdom caused Partition and religious animus. This is preposterous. The UK strove to maintain the unity of India. Congress voted for Partition! Even Gandhi accepted it. What possible motive can the United Kingdom have to stoke religious asperities in the Subcontinent? What advantage does the UK derive from this? The UK is only calumniated for the tragedy of inter-religious odium.
In 1948 Indian invaded a sovereign state called Hyderabad. It was naked aggression. The Indian Army massacred at least 27 000 thousand civilians. We know this from the Government of India’s own report at the time. Credible reports said that the death toll might have been as high as 200 000. Nehru was inconsolable. He was so horrified by the scale of the bloodletting that he buried the report. The blood has scarcely coagulated when the investigators arrived on the scene. Therefore, their evidence is very credible. It did not see the light of day for 65 years! Why? It demolished the argument that independence was more humane than British rule. The Indian Army behaved far better under British officers than it did under Indian officers. Nothing even remotely approaching that scale of sustained slaughter happened under the British Raj. The claim so often averred that independence would be better was disconfirmed. The utility of British hegemony was not entirely mythical.
The British claim that Britishers needed to be in India to prevent communal violence was absolutely true. The UK was often accused of divide and rule. This is a lie. I have never seen any administrator or politician or soldier call for this policy. Communal violence became hugely worse after independence. This causes unbearable cognitive dissonance for Indian nationalists. The notion that British rule was brutal and independence was humane is proved to be a massive falsehood. So much emotion has been invested in this myth that it must be defended at all hazards. Indian nationalists narratives are blown out of the water.
J L Nehru did not order the butchery in Hyderabad. He was already more than ripe in years but that stage and had never been one for bloodshed. But he failed to take action to punish the malfeasants. Nationalists are often discountenanced by this fact. Nehru’s name is so often breathed reverentially. But the hallowed name of Nehru is not as honourable as you might imagine. It takes quite some convolutions to get him off the hook for failing to prosecute the killers.
I do not impugn the bright honour of the Indian Army. Some Indian soldiers behaved correctly in Hyderabad and protected civilians.
Do not expect to find that in a single Indian schoolbook. This made Jallianwala Bagh look like a picnic. Not one soldier was punished for that. There has been no apology and no compensation for Hyderabad.
This is not a tu quoque argument. Jallianwala Bagh was ghastly. I am sorry for that heinous crime. But the Government of India is not sorry for the Hyderabad Massacre of its own people. Many Indians will be aghast by this horrid crime. However, if Delhi wants the United Kingdom to apologise then Delhi could take the initiative and apologise for this more recent and much larger scale massacre. The vexatious demands for an apology for Jallianwala Bagh might never be heeded.
When India is held to its own vaunted standards the British Raj is better than independence. Genocide in Bangladesh shows to Pakistanis and Bangaldeshis that the Raj was morally superior.
We never stop hearing about the appalling Amritsar Massacre. In 1965 Moraji Desai ordered the police in Bombay to shoot dead 65 unarmed protesters. How was Desai punished? He was made prime minister. The PM at the time was Indira Gandhi. She never so much as rebuked her deputy PM. Mrs Gandhi bears indirect responsibility. She was postfactum complicit in this massacre. Desai certainly acted contra legem.
Under the Raj the Child Marriage Restraint Act was passed. Was it bad to ban paedophilia? But the law was not adhered to with scrupulosity. Mujibur Rahman consummated his marriage with a 12 year old!
Unfortunately, unbridled peculation characterised much of the Indian body politic for decades. The Indian Civil Service under the Raj was a model of propriety by comparison. Independence was not always beatific. Yet if one counterbalance the boasts of nationalists with a candid account of embezzlement by certain functionaries and politicians you will get short shrift.
The British Raj was the culmination of Indian efforts more than British. For good or ill Indians were mainly responsible for it. When things went wrong the British were of course not irreproachable.
It is true that by the 1930s at least a noisy minority wanted independence. The leaders of this movement were gilded youths who had been educated in the United Kingdom.
Gandhi has achieved apotheosis among the liberal left. On closer inspection he makes a problematic idol. His racist screeds and opposition to modern medicine were unpalatable and imbecilic. He is not the moral titan some hold him to be.
The deification of Mandela ought also be revisited. To be sure he fought against a discriminatory and violent system. But he was also a tireless advocate for crueler oppression in other lands. Just because his foes were immoral it does not automatically follow that he was righteous in all things. Every eulogium of him neglects to mention his unstinting support for tyrants like Gaddafi. Mandela is not the quintessence of liberty that some claim.
The decanonisation of many anti-imperial figures is long overdue. I do not object to statues for them though. No supplications for this have been submitted.
Anti-Slavery International says there are more slaves in India than any other country. Many Indians will be as aghast by slavery as I am. But their government is patently doing a dreadful job in rooting it out. It is Indians who are the victims of his appalling crime.
The British Empire is often traduced for slavery. The empire did more to extirpate slavery than any other force in history. Indian nationalists often blackguard the empire by saying it ‘enslaved’ India. This is as dishonest as it is insulting. It was the empire that emancipated slavery in India against the ferocious opposition of anti-imperialists. The meta-narrative is that Britannic hegemony was oppressive and that self-rule was liberating. So often the reverse was the case.
Britishers are accused of pillaging after battles. In 1857 this happened. Loot is an Indian word. I wonder who taught it to the British? Plunder was par for the course between Indians in intra-Indian wars. Though there was wrongdoing but Britons this was the norm in India at the time and Britishers did not do it after 1857. The tactic is always the same: to scapegoat Britishers and make Indians seem virtuous by comparisons. There were and are some noisome Britons. But to judge any nationality by the worst amongst them is racialist.
Assaults on the high character are made by the more inadequate sort of Indian politician. Why? They seek to divert attention from their own incompetence, mendacity and avarice. The Indian political class is not known for its disinterestedness in pecuniary matters! Demagogues know that Brit bashing plays well. Anyone who socks it to the British is lionised. Dr Tharoor knows that ever caning he administers to the British bottom will add another 100 000 votes to his majority.
Dr Tharoor cited blowing from cannon as proof positive of Britannic depravity. Executing people by blowing them from cannon was invented by Indians. But this populist does not say it proves Indian depravity. Indeed, it does not. Why the double standard? Racialism is the only answer. As it happens killing someone by blowing him from a cannon is as humane a method of execution as may be devised since it caused an instantaneous death. It was far kinder than some of the slow and agonising methods of capital punishment also used in Indian in former times.
There were famines under the Raj as there had been throughout Indian history. But no one says famines prior to the British era prove that Indian independence was morally bankrupt. Indian rulers varied widely. Some ruled with wisdom, justice and foresight. Others were roi faineant notorious for their dissipation and rapacity. Supposing no Briton had ever set foot on India’s soil there is no reason to suppose that famines would not have taken place from the 18th to the 20th centuries. However, the East India Company’s policies were sometimes wrongheaded and unfair. Raising tax during a famine was an evil thing to do. It worsened the situation appreciably. The horror of these famines shall never be lost to remembrance. In the 18th to 20th century Indians were involved in all these policies and profited from them. Britishers are blameworthy for exploitation but so are their Indian accomplices. Why are these rack renters and tax farmers not held accountable too? Blame gora log is the policy.
There is still not a plenitude of comestibles in India. In 2009 the Times of India said that half the children’s deaths in the country were consequent upon undernourishment. Overweening concern would solve this.
It is true that there was some serious wrongdoing under the British Raj. Millions of Indians did not have sufficient nutriment. Some perished as a result and famines had always taken place in India. The Britannic Raj had an agriculture department and established famine relief efforts. We cannot quantify lives saved. A famine in Bihar was averted by British intervention. The Bengal Famine of 1942 is often thrown as the Raj as an example of the Raj’s unexampled wickedness. This was a natural calamity caused by a cyclone. It being an act of God is said to be immaterial by entrenched nationalists.
People say food aid should have been sent to the stricken region. Bridges had been blown up and boats sunk in 1942 to forestall the advance of Nipponese. The Japanese had subjugated Burma and indeed penetrated India’s frontier. The Japanese had annexed the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and were sinking all ships in the Bay of Bengal. Could supply ships not disgorge their cargoes at the Indian ports on the Arabian Sea? The Japanese submarines were also sinking ships in the Arabian Sea but not as many. There was a severe shortage of merchant ships. Yes, but then the railways were being sabotaged by Congress. Very little aid would ever get through to the afflicted area. Even then it would simply be consumed by the invading Japanese. But despite all this aid should have been dispatched. At least a little would have got through and a few lives would have been saved.
Hindsight is 20:20! We now know that the Japanese were repulsed by the gallant endeavour of the Indian Army and their faithful British allies. In 1942 people did not know that.
The agony of Bengal is laid at Britain’s door. Who was administering Bengal? Indians were. The Muslim League had the majority in the provincial legislature. There was an Australian Governor of Bengal but almost all decisions were taken by the elected representatives of the Bengali people. Yet somehow the UK is always reproached for this. Congress was strangely imperturbable about the famine. Did they even see it as an advantage? Perhaps the believed it strengthened the case for independence.
Even Japanese imperialism was not all bad. Japanese rule in China was racist, prolifically brutal and egregiously rapacious. We all know that thousands of comfort women were forced to work in military brothels, the Rape of Nanking was committed and biological weapons were tested on civilians. But even this was less murderous than the communist rule which supplanted that of Nippon.
Anti-imperialism was often actuated by rapine, religious bigotry and xenophobia. During the Indian Mutiny the mutineers were racists and anti-Christian. By contrast the British and their faithful Indian comrades were multi-ethnic and multireligious. They fought for pluralism, tolerance and the values of the englightenment.
The obstinacy with which anti-imperialists will disclaim responsibility for this catalogues of crimes says much about their dishonesty and disingenuousness. They are not unintelligent as a rule.
I draw a sharp distinction between the situation in the United States and that in the British Isles. In the Southern States of the USA there were hundreds of statues of Confederate soldiers. I hold no brief for the Confederate States of America (CSA).
The CSA was founded for one reason only: to uphold the enslavement of African-Americans. It is hard to conceive of a more ignoble cause. The CSA was sordid. Its downfall is to be applauded.
There are partisans of the Confederate cause who say that the Civil War was not over slavery. This is ludicrous in the highest degree. The express cause of the eleven states seceding from the Union was to maintain slavery.
Let me put it another way. Supposing the North had kept slavery would the South have seceded? Of course not! In the early years of independence when the North had not yet emancipated the victims of slavery no one in the South breathed a word about breaking away. Secessionism advanced in lockstep with abolitionism. As slavery in the North disappeared unionism in the South suffered a corresponding eclipse. Any connection? As Alexander Stephen put it white supremacism was the ‘cornerstone’ of the CSA.
In the 1860s British Empire strove to end slavery the CSA to perpetuate it. They can hardly be more dissimilar.
I am not in favour of removing Confederate statues. But I have no strong feeling on the issue. If people take the statues away I would not ask for them to be returned to their original site. I do not see that taking away such images achieves anything. Will it allay racial tensions? Not a bit of it. I intuit that it may even aggravate them. That is why I feel disquietude about the attempt to have these images taken away. I do not question the right of a state of municipality to remove these statues. I question its efficacy.
It is bizarre that the US military has bases named after Confederate generals. They were all enemies of the United States. They had formerly served the USA. They deserted the US Army and betrayed the United States. There is every reason for the Federal Government to change these names. They were named in honour of Confederates to build rapprochement between the sections.
Some Confederate soldiers will have been valiant and honourable. They probably sincerely believed in their foul cause. This is the curious thing: how compartmentalised people can be.
Why do men fight for their country? There is a sense of patriotism and there is often wilful blindness. People have an illimited capacity for self-delusion. There is also groupthink or perhaps camaraderie. There is the desire to defend one’s home. This neatly overlooks the fact that it was the CSA that bombarded Fort Sumter. I know you will say that Fort Sumter was in South Carolina so the CSA – if it was legitimate – had an arguable case for opening fire.
These partisans of the Lost Cause speak of Southern honour. What was that? Was it treating people like animals? Was it the floggings? Was it the rapes? Was it the murders?
There were and are admirable things about the American South. But none of these needed the CSA. Whether it was music, dancing, architecture, literature, cuisine or manners none of these attributes were in any wise menaced by the United States. Most of the virtues of the South could be found in the North too. The grace and dignity of a Southern belle did not need a war.
Every war has at least two sides. There was probably never a war in which one side was 100% right in its cause and conduct and the other wise was utterly wrong. A good person can serve a vile cause and vice versa.
Let us have done with selective amnesia. In Ireland we should acknowledge our splendid imperial past and in Great Britain too. It should be embraced with fervour and relish whilst also being candid about the inhumanity of certain aspects of imperialism.
Ethnic minority Irish and British citizens have the absolute right to reside in the Isles. Some of them believe that UK is extremely evil. If so it genuinely puzzles me why such a person would want to be here. He has the right to remain but also to leave. Ethnic minority people came for economic opportunities. That is respectable. But surely none would stay if the UK was so grossly unjust. To some degree this applies to the Republic of Ireland too.
The next coronation cannot be far off. Does the coronation oath need to be updated? The Prince of Wales wants to be Defender of Faiths. How will he defend mutually incompatible faiths? It takes some mental contortionism. The left is good at such logical gymnastics. His Royal Highness shall swear to defend Islam which would have executed for his self-confessed adultery.
I am a convinced race mixer. I celebrated miscegenation. If we were all intermarried no one would be entirely on thing or other. We are all human. Can we concentrate on our common humanity? Let us not divide ourselves and point the finger any longer. It is personality type which matters more than ethnicity or nationality. Because I am a sentimental imperialist I welcome Commonwealth immigration especially from the democratic Commonwealth nations such as India, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Trinidad and Nigeria. We can all return to felicity and placidity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.